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NEWS & INSIGHTS | Opinion

Breaking down barriers to data sharing and embracing a whole system thinking approach

17 November 2021

I truly believe that we can secure a net zero future if we work together as an industry, embracing a whole system thinking approach that encourages collaboration across all industries.  Our Closing the Gap: Technology for a net zero North Sea report identified that a reliable and connected data infrastructure, combined with widespread use of data analytics, will be essential to this – and sharing data will be fundamental.

But how do we break down the silos and resistance and encourage organisations to share their valuable data to highlight the benefits that collaboration will deliver.  We are leading several projects that aim to do just that.

The UKCS Data & Digital Report published earlier this year highlighted the need for more digital fluency to explore digital opportunities within our industry.  A key recommendation was defining an offshore energy data and digital strategy that brings together industry and government efforts across the multiple offshore energy sectors. 

And so, we launched the Offshore Energy Digital and Data Strategy (OEDDS) Taskforce in September, supported by the OGUK and the Oil and Gas Authority.  The taskforce will bring together participants – including The Crown Estate, Crown Estates Scotland, the Technology Leadership Board and Renewable UK – to provide clear recommendations and a delivery roadmap to enable digital technologies and data to support the offshore energy transition effectively.

The OEDDS Taskforce is a cross-sector industry led initiative that builds on work carried out by the Energy System Catapult.   This six-month project will deliver a report in February which will identify how we define and accelerate a digital and data strategy across the entire offshore energy sector.

The Taskforce will work with parties across both offshore renewables and oil & gas to identify the challenges and opportunities that exist in working towards ambitious decarbonisation plans. It is a really exciting project and a fantastic foundation from which we can build. 

The recent funding from the Scottish Governments Energy Transition Fund has been secured to fund projects that will unlock some of the digital technology and innovation required to deliver an affordable net zero energy industry.  The £16.5M funding will be match-funded by industry to develop robotics and autonomous systems, employ remote operations technology and power forward a reimagined offshore energy system through data sharing and data architecture.

At a time when difficult decisions need to be made to meet our net zero targets, data has an important role to play in our decision-making process and advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are helping to solve the hugely complex task of delivering our net zero future.  In January 2022 we will be launching a RangL challenge to lay out the ‘optimal pathway to net zero by 2050’. The challenge is a competition platform that will invite participants from the global AI community to create and apply their own reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms.  The challenge created by associates of The Alan Turing Institute, Oxquant and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult will bring together the AI community to raise awareness of the biggest challenge of our lifetime.

The data and digitalisation space is moving at pace and I am excited to see the outputs from the projects we are supporting and prove the value of data sharing and collaboration as we move towards our 2050 net zero targets and beyond.

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